Our Visit to Holland and a Peek at our Dutch Direct Supplier
If you ever want to see first hand how a flower travels all over the world, from the farm to the consumer - visit Holland. This past week we had the pleasure of attending both The International Floriculture Trade Fair (IFTF), and the Royal Flora Holland Trade Fair in Holland. We feasted our eyes on the most beautiful and perfect blooms from across the globe. Our mouths and eyes remained wide open as we took in each booth. Words and photos don't do justice to what we saw and experienced.
The IFTF was comprised of hundreds of flower farms, brokers, breeders from all over the world. From bursting blooms of cloni rununculus from Italy, to the latest roses from Ecuador, England and Columbia, to foliage farms in Africa - the show was a mecca of international floral abundance.
The Royal Holland Trade Fair included hundreds of plant and flower growers, brokers and breeders just from Holland. The displays were incredibly designed, catching our attention at every turn. We were in awe of the sheer magnitude and complexity of our industry. We experienced a whole new appreciation for flowers and what every bloom goes through to reach the end user. It is truly an amazing time to be in the floral industry.
Photos from the shows
Tulip fields in bloom during Spring
We also had the pleasure of meeting with Holex, at their state of the art facility in De Kwakel, right outside the famous Aalsmeer Auction in Holland. With offices in Holland, China and Miami, they are one of the largest suppliers of Dutch product to the world.
First we were shown their offices and buying floor, where multiple buyers are responsible for securing product in real time from the auction. Our team at Holex showed us first hand how flowers are transported straight from the farm, to the auction floor into their coolers which are connected by rail system to the auction building. During our tour I couldn't stop thinking if Willy Wonka had a flower factory - this would be it.
Products arrive in water from the growers and are transported by mechanical trolley into the top floor of the plant. You can look up and see all the action taking place overhead. Then the flowers travel in an automated elevator and are dropped into the QC area. Each product is inspected by hand, bar coded and stored in their coolers by category and temperature requirements. The flowers are picked in the coolers, put on a train of carts and wheeled by mini vehicles into the packing area for shipment. Their computers determine the size of the box and their packers place them in the containers. Then the boxes go into a cooling area, where the temperature is dropped and air is removed, further retaining the flower's freshness.
The entire process requires less handling and better cooling storage all the way through. What does that mean to you - superior product. Everywhere we looked, the entire building was modern, clean and humming with technology. The flowers are so perfect and pristine, they hardly look real.
No wonder Holland is the major hub for product across the globe. Our trip was truly an amazing experience and one we would recommend to everyone in our industry.
Holex's Packing Floor
"Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation and 2% butterscotch ripple."
from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory